The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Portsmouth teamed up for another event to benefit the community this week, with the first ever Fa La La La Local Holiday Expo in the Scioto County Welcome Center.
The groups say they fit over 40 businesses and crafters in the space and welcomed hundreds of shoppers in the three hours. The event was planned in hopes of getting locals together to spend money with locally owned businesses, rather than looking online or out-of-town, for holiday gift ideas. The event was also a great way for area businesses to network and show off their product and expand their regular customer base.
“We were competent in the businesses registered and we knew they would be amazing, but we were uncertain about overall success, since it was a first year event, “Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth said. “You just never know with first events, especially with it taking place on a Wednesday. We were shocked by just how heavily the event was attended, though. Every vendor had positive things to say and most asked for its return next year, which we were planning anyway, but this gives us a little steam in doing so.”
Main Street has teamed with the Chamber for various events, especially this year, with the groups teaming for a total of five events.
“I would argue that we are the closest-working Chamber and Main Street programs in the state of Ohio,” Pratt said. “When we venture across the state, we often hear of issues some cities have working alongside their vhamber or visitor’s bureau, but Portsmouth works together like we are all co-workers in the same mission, with Kim Bauer and the visitor’s bureau, Donna Arnett and Lisa Carver with the chamber, and all of Main Street’s volunteers, being great allies.”
Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Carver, says the groups work well together because their mission of building a better home and business community in Portsmouth. “Working with Main Street has opened up so many new ideas and opportunities for the chamber to co-host events and think outside our box a little. Joseph has a lot fresh ideas.”
Carver also believed the Fa La La La Local Holiday Expo was a success, especially for a first year attempt. The group plans on making it annual come next year.
“This was the first time for the chamber to co-host such an event but it aligned perfectly with our mission. It brought visibility to small businesses and it was an impressive community gathering,” Carver said. “Our main focus is to empower our members and foster small business while our broader goal is to strengthen our community.”
Also in attendance was Porsmouth City Manager Sam Sutherland, who took an evening break from the 2019 city budget planning to see how the participating businesses were doing.
“Everyone I talked to was impressed with the crowd and that was well into the evening,” Sutherland commented. “It was a great way to kick off the holiday shopping season and bring the focus to some of our small businesses and vendors.”
Main Street Portsmouth has been serving the downtown in beautification, economic vitality, event planning, and more, for nearly 12 years. They have the annual Building Improvement Grant Program with the City of Portsmouth, which adds $25,000 in a fund for area downtown businesses to develop their historic properties with, invest over $30,000 a year in beautification, and host events such as the Farmers Market, the Chocolate Walk, Street Art Saturdays, the Wine and Dine, and more. The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce has been serving area businesses and their success for 98 years. They oversee the Safety Council, provide monthly networking opportunities for area businesses, instruct a local class for area leaders, assists and connects the community, business leaders, and fellow organizations more than any other entity in the county, and much more. To reach either organization, call the Scioto County Welcome Center at 740.354.7541 or Main Street’s office at 740.464.0203